19 Closed off

*Xin Lei*

"I'm Xin Lei." I wrote my name on a piece of paper.

Lin Zihao nodded and asked me, "How did Bai Li get a panic attack?"

Su Weiyuan said, "I understand sign language."

I carefully observed them. Their build and height were almost similar to Bai Li, but I guess he was a tad bit taller.

I nodded and gestured my hands in sign language to act out what had happened. Their expressions turned grim.

I looked back at Bai Li, who was peacefully resting. I recalled how he had said that he killed a civilian in his mission, and now he got a panic attack just before he was about to shoot the goon.

In the medical condition, it usually meant one thing.

I raised my head and signaled four letters in the air. "PTSD."

I didn't need to ask as I was absolutely sure.

I was startled when Lin Zihao widened his eyes. I couldn't understand what he was so shocked about.

"Shush!" I could sense the desperation in his tone. Su Weiyuan, on the other hand, was impassive.

The corner of my mouth twitched.

I didn't really 'say' per se that he told me to be quiet. I coughed dryly. Uncle Rong, too, shot a glare at him. As he realized that, he awkwardly smiled. "Sorry…"

Lin Zihao nervously darted a glance at Bai Li and whispered. "That word is his nemesis."

I frowned and waited.

He sighed. "Well, he does get some attacks like that once in a while. They are not that frequent, but they aren't absent either. It started since he lost his sight five years ago in a mission at Baghdad."

I already had a hunch that his loss of sight may be related to one of his missions. As a doctor, I had come across many army veterans who had lost an arm or a limb or had injured themselves heavily in their missions.

Serving the nation at the border was a noble job, but it also required sacrifices.

A dull ache enveloped my chest as I imagined Bai Li getting injured. I didn't even realize when the corner of my eyes stung in tears.

I gestured. "What happened after that?"

Su Weiyuan stared at me for a few seconds. "You have to ask Bai Li. We 'know' what happened, but only he can tell you what he had gone through. Because after a certain point, we, who can see the world, cannot possibly understand the pain of someone who doesn't."

I faintly smiled. It was the same as those people who felt pitiful for me and who extended their sympathies.

They could never truly understand how it felt to be mute.

"And maybe…" He looked at me. "He will finally open his heart to you one day. You both understand that pain."

I hoped that he would. I really did.

"If this sentimental talk is over, then can you leave my hand? You will break it. Being blind is enough for me."


I looked down and saw that I was holding onto Bai Li's hand, more like I was squeezing it.

Bai Li slowly shifted and got up.

Gosh, was I holding his hand this whole time!? In front of everybody?

Uncle Rong coughed and shrugged.

I wanted to dig a hole and bury myself in it. I quickly withdrew my hand.

"Heh! After taking liberties with me, you are shaking me off so rudely now?" He sneered.


Somehow, that irked me.

Give me those feelings back where I felt terrible for you!

I noticed the sympathy in Lin Zihao's gaze.

I guess I wasn't the only sufferer of his blunt remarks.

"Hey Goofy shut it with your unnecessary trash. Weiyuan."

I thought Bai Li's tone was slightly nice for Su Weiyuan with just a bit of warning as compared to Lin Zhihao.

He shrugged, whereas Lin Zihao cried. "That is so unfair! Why don't you use that nice tone for me too!?"

"Because you are a goofball."

I ignored their banter and quickly checked on Bai Li's pulse. But he suddenly withdrew his hand. "I'm fine."

Was his tone a little...cold? He also seemed a bit angry.

Perhaps...he never wanted anybody to know this side of his.

But hey! Why should I listen to you? I'm the doctor!

I puffed my cheeks and held his wrist again.

"I said, I'm fine!" It was harsher this time.

It hurt me a little when he brushed me away like that. It felt like there was a sense of distance between us. Like he had closed his heart from sharing anything, and that there was where he built his walls, not allowing anyone to come inside.

And I didn't like it at all.

"Bai Li." Su Weiyuan was rather calm, "She is just checking you."

That's right!

"I don't need it."

Yeah, sure you don't!

But this time, I didn't let go of his hand. I so wanted to smack him on the head!

I looked at Lin Zihao and gestured. "Your phone."

He looked at me doubtfully, nevertheless he gave it to me.

I furiously typed in with all the pent up nervousness and stress I went through for the past thirty minutes. I hit the speaker button.

"Bai Li, if you don't let me do my job, then I will seriously beat you up! Now sit straight and shut your mouth!"


Lin Zihao cracked into laughter. "Ah-Ha Ha Ha! That was... awesome,.Xin Lei. Hmph, you deserve it, Bai Li."

"This is not how you talk to a patient…" He mumbled, but I clearly heard it.

He made a sour face, which I didn't care about. His pulse was fine and breathing steady. His gaze also looked focussed.

I typed. "You are fine now."

"What did I tell you?" Bai Li snorted.

I finally smacked him on the head.

Lin Zihao asked, "Who were those guys?"

Bai Li said, "They are after Xin Lei." Both of us alternatively told the whole story.

Su, Weiyuan nodded. "We understand now. Here are the things you asked for." He kept a paper bag on the table.

I peeked into it, and there were two sets of police uniforms.

I instantly understood.


Since someone in the police was crooked, there was no way we could just directly meet Fu Ting.

"There is a prison guard, surnamed Wu. He has a scar below his left eye."

Bai Li asked, "Codeword?"


I got curious. It all seemed like a break-in planning in a movie.

I tugged Bai Li's sleeve, and perhaps he understood.

"We will say 'thunder,' and the guard will recognize us. He will take care of letting us in and then out."

Could army officers really do that? I wondered.

Bai Li seemed to think about something, and I sensed unease in his body language.

He finally asked out, "Did you find anything about Rodey?"

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